Flossing plays an important role in the prevention of cavities and gum disease. Brushing alone isn’t able to reach the tight areas between teeth, leading to buildups of food and plaque. If left untreated, this debris will begin to break down as it’s transformed into bacterial colonies, placing nearby teeth at risk for decay. Thankfully, this can be prevented with a daily flossing regimen.
You might be surprised to learn that only 1 out of 2 people floss daily. Some people are stuck in the mindset that brushing alone is enough to maintain proper oral hygiene. Your mouth may feel clean and refreshed after brushing, but the bottom line is that brushing does not reach the areas between your teeth—and that’s where the majority of cavities tend to form. Spending a couple of minutes reaching down between your teeth with a strip of floss can significantly improve your overall oral health while combating tooth decay and gum disease.
AMERICAN DENTAL ASSOCIATION (ADA) STEPS TO FLOSSING:
- Choose a floss with the ADA Seal. This signifies the product has passed strict safety and effectiveness guidelines by the ADA Council on Scientific Affairs.
- Cut about 18 inches of floss from the container.
- Wrap one end of the floss around your left-hand middle finger and the other end around your right-hand middle finger.
- Grab the floss and gently press it between your thumbs and forefingers.
- Slide the floss in between your teeth, creating a C shape against the side of the tooth.
- Pull the floss up and down so it’s able to brush about the side the tooth (note: make slow, gentle strokes; do not jerk).
- Continue to the process until you’ve covered all your front and bottom teeth.
- Rinse with either water or a mouthwash and you’re finished!
WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO BRUSH?
There’s no specific time of day that’s better for flossing than another. The ADA recommends brushing twice a day and flossing once a day for good oral hygiene. However, flossing after you brush may prove slightly more beneficial since the fluoride from the toothpaste is able to access those hard-to-reach places between the teeth.
It’s important to note that young children will likely need help flossing. Set a good example for your child by helping and encouraging them to floss. Most children will develop the hand coordination and dexterity necessary to floss on their own around the age of 10.
If you have any questions about dental hygiene, contact one of the dentists at Little Rock Family Dental Care by calling 501-954-9900.